Breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby

Breast milk is often called "liquid gold" for its health and nutritional benefits to infants. Mothers who breastfeed also see health benefits.

Researchers are finding it has an especially big impact on a baby's gut microbiome.

It's recommended that moms exclusively breast feed for the first 6 months of life. Researchers said children who were breast fed are less likely to be hospitalized in the first year of life.

Dr. Pamela Berens from Children's Memorial Hermann says the list of benefits to your baby goes on.

“It appears that there's less type 1 diabetes in infants that are breastfed, reduced risk for Leukemia and Lymphoma in those children, and potentially also some changes in their risk for later life obesity as well,” Berens said.

A study from UNC Chapel Hill, backs up some of these claims with scientific evidence straight from the diapers.

Stool samples show babies who were exclusively breast fed had fewer stomach aches and colic when they transitioned to solid foods.

Berens said you can, and should introduce solid foods once your babe is about 6 months

“So that would be other foods to their diet at about 6 months and time but with the addition of continue breastfeeding,” Berens said. “It's important that the babies do get iron from other sources and things like that”

The benefit is not limited to babies.

Research indicates *breastfeeding moms* might be able to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

But that's still a speculated bonus. While there's plenty of proof this is a good way to drop baby weight because you're burning several hundred calories a day just to produce

“It’s about the same as doing a StairMaster for an hour a day so there's definitely a caloric benefit to breastfeeding your baby,” Berens said.

Dr. Berens said something she's particularly interested in is helping moms get milk if they cannot produce enough.

Although, she says it is a fairly common problem for women to feel like they're not making enough milk for their baby and the majority of the time women who feel that way actually are making enough milk so what you want to do is get objective information:

You want to check the baby's weight, you want to see how many wet and dirty diapers.

She said milk banks and formula are good options if moms truly cannot produce enough and it affects the baby's growth.

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